216. 2. Eternal matters involve spiritual rank and money, which have to do with love and wisdom, in heaven. Since materialists call the pleasures of self-love good (these pleasures are also the pleasures of compulsions to evil) and convince themselves that they are good, they call rank and money divine blessings. However, when materialists see that just as many evil as good people are raised to high rank and advanced in wealth, and even more when they see good people living in disgrace and poverty and evil people living in splendor and wealth, they think to themselves, "What is going on here? This cannot be the work of divine providence, because if it were managing everything, it would supply the good with high rank and money and humble the evil with poverty and disgrace. This would make the evil admit that God and divine providence are real."
 However, unless materialists are enlightened by their spiritual selves--that is, unless they are spiritual as well as materialistic--they do not see that rank and money may be either blessings or curses and that they are blessings when they come from the Lord and curses when they come from the devil. We know that the devil can give us rank and money because the devil is called "the Prince of This World."
Since people do not know under what circumstances rank and money are blessings and under what circumstances they are curses, I need to explain it, but in the following sequence. (a) Rank and money may be either blessings or curses. (b) When rank and money are blessings, they are spiritual and eternal, but when they are curses, they are temporal and transient. (c) The relationship between the rank and money that are curses and the rank and money that are blessings is like a relationship of nothing to everything, or of something unreal to something real.